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24 June 2006

Nice to see you

Thanks to NUJ New Media, Jenny's social life was a blur
Thanks to everyone who came along and made our evening in the pub a success. Mind you, it's hard to have an evening in the pub that's a total failure, but this one was a goodie. Thanks too to the Yorkshire Grey staff, who were v helpful - it's a good pub (I'd never been before) with a great upstairs room. I can see us going back there!

Anyway, I only managed one shot of the event, which pretty much sums up the state of some participants towards the end of the evening. I think it's safe to say I won't be joining the NUJ photographers' branch any time soon...

21 June 2006

Yahoo! recruitment action

John Wood at Yahoo! recruitment eventThe New Media Council carried out a recruitment action at Yahoo!'s London headquarters yesterday (Tuesday). As part of our on-going campaign about Yahoo!'s involvement in the imprisonment of journalists and activists in China, we wanted to invite member of Yahoo! staff to join the union and our campaign for human rights.

John and I started out with 300 flyers entitled "Yet Another Hypocritical Online Organisation?" in the well-known Yahoo! colours (purple and yellow) just after five o'clock. By seven, we had none left. 100 or so invitations to the social event on Thursday ran out far sooner.

Donnacha DeLong at Yahoo! recruitment eventWe got a range of reactions, from people who agreed with our position and said that they had contacted their own management about it, to people who were more defensive. A couple of people asked us how we could do what we were doing and marched back in, presumably to ask security to remove us. However, while laws in this country are getting more restrictive, I don't think there's yet anything that prevents us standing on a public footpath and asking people if they'd like to take a flyer!

A number of people did engage with us, including a number of managers. They gave the corporate line that they had no option but to comply with Chinese law, to which we responded that they did have an option about doing business in a country that has a dreadful record on freedom of speech. We followed that up, though, with an explanation that we are willing to engage with the company and see how we might be able to work together to campaign for freedom of speech in China and elsewhere in the world. We pointed out that, as a trade union, the way we engage with companies is by recruiting their employees.

Now it's time sit back and let the emails (hopefully) flood in.

15 June 2006

Come to the pub!

We'd like to invite all London's new media workers (yes, all of them!) to join us for a drink or two and a chat on Thursday, 22 June, at 7pm.

The NUJ's New Media sector has been going from strength to strength over the past two years and it's time to celebrate. So, come along to the Yorkshire Grey pub on the corner of Theobald's and Gray's Inn Roads in Holborn and meet others from the sector as well as some of your union representatives.

Expect interesting conversation with others working in the industry about the union's work and some of the issues facing the industry, all with a new media slant.

And, as this event will be taking place during the union's Recruitment Week, bring your friends and colleagues. This is not just for NUJ members, anyone interested can come along, have a drink on us and take a recruitment form with them (no pressure, we'd just like people to consider joining the union).

When: 7pm, Thursday, 22 June
Where: The Yorkshire Grey, 29-33 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8PN
Map: http://streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=530943&y=181989&z=1&sv=530943,181989&st=4&ar=Y
Getting there:
Closest tube: Chancery Lane
Bus: 19/38 from Charring Cross Road, 17/45/46 from King's Cross (and a few more besides).

Working in a warzone

Today is Iraq National Press Day and the NUJ is joining journalists’ groups across the world in a global campaign to highlight the dangers faced by journalists in Iraq. Union members are heading to the Iraq Embassy (9 Holland Villas Road, W14 8BP) at 12.30, for a remembrance picket and to meet Dr Salah Al-Shaikhly, Iraq's Ambassador to the UK.

“It is undeniable that journalists and other media workers have been specially targeted during this war” said NUJ President Chris Morley. “Today thousands of journalists across the world will honour the memory of those that were selectively picked out and shot or bombed, but we also aim to highlight the needs of the survivors and the grieving families and will be urging governments to take urgent action to improve the safety of journalists.”

The campaign is coordinated by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on behalf of its two Iraqi affiliates – the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate and the Kurdistan Journalists’ Union. The IFJ has counted 129 media victims (over 100 of whom are Iraqi) since the 2003, with several hundreds injured or disabled.

If you'd like more of a sense of what journalists in Iraq are up against, check out these two blogs written by Iraqi journalists, 'Shut up you fat whiner!' by Salam Pax (the original 'Baghdad Blogger', an NUJ member who often works for UK outlets) and one of his favourite blogs, 'Iraqi Screen', by Ishtar who posts regularly on stories she hears in her work as a journalist in and around Baghdad.


12 June 2006

Where the web leads...

The Guardian has as of today switched its editorial cycle for paper and site back to front. Now the site gets stories first, as and when they happen, rather than waiting for the paying customers to catch up - an integrated media brand on- and offline, as opposed to a paper with a nice website.

Kim Fletcher's nice MediaGuardian (yes, in the paper...) summary of the far-ranging implications of the changes is worth a peek - "Has a reader more right to insult a writer on the Comment is Free website when he has paid 70p for the paper or clicked on the website for nothing?": http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,,1795194,00.html

08 June 2006

The Content is dead! Long live the Content!

To the plush surroundings of the Royal Society's Great Hall this Tuesday for NMK's Content2.0 conference. Content it would seem is no longer King, but some kind of revolutionary squatter, ready to pack bags and move on to wherever looks more fun. A really interesting series of presentations which kept a pretty diverse audience engaged, but of particular interest to us NMers were the morning sessions. Adriana Cronin-Lukas posited that new media should be seen as merely a modernising of traditional media - same attitudes with a nice new interface - and not be lumped in with the emergent 'social media'. Showing a nice photo slide of cleaner-birds on hippos, she suggested the two would remain distinct but connected, with social media a parasite on new/trad media, and the two in a symbiotic relationship with potential benefit on both sides.

Jemima's live reporting from the day on the paidContent.org blog makes for interesting reading: http://www.paidcontent.org/c/content-20/

Slow boat from China?

Potentially heralding the beginnings of a rethink at Google, Sergey Brin gave a candid response on internal attitudes to their self-censored Chinese search engine, admitting that the original decision was a trade-off on their anti-censorship principles, in the hope of bringing at least something halfway useful to users in China. "Perhaps now the principled approach makes more sense," he told reporters in Washington.

More at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,1792638,00.html

And for those who didn't see it yet, the cheap trick demonstration of Google filtering. Can you spot the difference between these two image searches for "Tiananmen"?

05 June 2006

Oi! Yahoo! No!

Excerpted from the first issue of logON://, the NUJ NMIC's new newsletter for members working in the New Media sector:

NMIC has decided to sever its collective ties with Yahoo! and remove the open mailing list for all new media journalists from Yahoo! Groups. The reason? Here’s the NMIC press release:

The New Media Industrial Council has decided to shut down its mailing list on Yahoo!. The decision followed a series of reports that the company provided information to the Chinese authorities that led to the arrest and imprisonment of dissidents, including journalist Shi Tao. According to the Court transcript, the evidence that led to Shi Tao’s sentencing included account-holder information provided by Yahoo!.

NMIC has set up the NUJ-newmedia mailing list on an alternative service. The Council calls on others in the union who run mailing lists on Yahoo! to consider doing the same and is willing to provide advice and guidance to those choosing to do so.

NMIC ask people to sign the petition, being run byAmnesty International in the UK and supported by TheObserver and the OpenNet Initiative. So far, nearly18,000 people have signed. You can too. Just go to http://irrepressible.info/ and add your name.The new mailing list is at:NUJnewmedia@lists.serverone.co.uk

There's been a whole bunch of stories about this, but my favourite so far has to be this one, made possible by the wonders of syndication: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/02062006/325/nuj-calls-yahoo-boycott.html (Mind you, if you're boycotting them, you're not allowed to read it, heh!)